Implementation of the "Initiative Against Mass Immigration"
In February 2014, the Swiss People adopted the so-called "Initiative against mass immigration". This initiative mandates the Swiss legislator to limit the immigration of foreigners to Switzerland by means of annual maximum figures and quotas in line with Switzerland's overall economic interests. The aim of this initiative is to protect jobs in Switzerland by favoring Swiss job applicants over foreigners. In view of the conflict between this initiative and the Bilateral Agreement on the free movement of persons between Switzerland and the EU, the Swiss Parliament tried to find a solution which would reconciliate the will of the Swiss People and Switzerland's obligations under the Bilateral Agreements with the EU. Eventually, the Swiss Parliament decided to impose an obligation on Swiss employers to register jobs in professions with high unemployment rates. The aim is to make better use of the potential of the domestic workforce by promoting the placement of job-seekers registered with a regional employment centre (Swiss abbreviation "RAV") in Switzerland.
Obligation to Report Job Vacancies to RAV
From 1 July 2018, employers are obliged to report to the RAV job vacancies in professions with over 8% unemployment. As from 1 January 2020, this threshold will be reduced to 5%. The Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research makes the necessary annual adjustments. The obligation to register includes, among other things, an indication of the profession concerned, the job description (including special requirements), the place of work and work percentage, the date of commencement of the position and the type of employment relationship.
Companies can check on www.arbeit.swiss.ch whether the position to be filled is subject to reporting requirements or not. For example, from 1 July 2018, job positions for construction workers or secretaries/receptionists will have to be registered, as both are professions with over 8% unemployment.
Violation of the reporting obligation is sanctioned with a maximum fine of CHF 40,000 (in case of intent) or CHF 20,000 (in case of negligence).
Procedure for Reporting Job Vacancies
After the HR manager provides the RAV with all the necessary information on the position to be filled, he or she will be informed by the RAV that the job advertisement will for a period of five working days be accessible for registered job-seekers only. Job-seekers registered with the RAV thus benefit from an information advantage for this period, because during these five days the company may not advertise the position elsewhere (e.g. LinkedIn, newspaper, etc.) and only the RAV and the job-seekers registered with the RAV have access to the job information. At the same time, the RAV is given the opportunity to submit dossiers of suitable candidates to employers during the first three working days after the job announcement. The RAV will immediately forward to the employer the dossier of those registered job-seekers who correspond to the profile of the advertised job, i.e. those who, for example, have the profile of a construction worker or a secretary/receptionist. All job-seekers registered with the RAV can also apply on their own initiative.
This "headstart" regarding vacancies on the job market for job-seekers registered with the RAV increases the chance of being hired. However, there is no obligation on parts of the employers to invite any of the registered job-seekers to an interview. The employer is only obliged to inform the RAV which candidates it considers suitable for the position, which candidates have been invited to an interview, whether a candidate proposed by the RAV has been hired and whether the position is still open at all.
Exceptions to the Reporting Obligation
There are certain exceptions to the reporting obligation. If an employer can fill the position within the existing workforce of the company or a group of affiliated companies (with persons having been employed for at least 6 months prior to the vacancy), the position need not be reported. The same applies if the concerned job is for a maximum duration of 14 days or if the employer wishes to hire a person who is a family relative of the company owner. Finally, the employer does not have to report the vacancy if he finds and hires job-seekers already registered with the RAV. Most of their profiles are published on www.arbeit.swiss.ch and are therefore easily accessible to employers.
It remains to be seen how strictly the RAV will and can monitor compliance with the employers' reporting obligation and how effectively this new regulation will stop "mass immigration".
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.